Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed President Joe Biden on Friday for the rising cost of rent in Florida.
The political finger-pointing comes after Florida Democrats sent a letter to DeSantis Thursday, urging him to declare a state of emergency to address a growing lack of affordable housing in Florida.
Rent prices, the letter notes, are on the rise.
“This situation is no longer sustainable as Floridians simply cannot afford Florida,” the letter reads.
DeSantis, however, swatted down calls for an emergency declaration soon after receiving the letter Thursday. The issue, he suggested, lies with Biden.
“We should take that letter, and we should forward it to Joe Biden in the White House, because things are more expensive because of his policies,” DeSantis told reporters in Ocala.
Rent is skyrocketing beyond reach of some Floridians. According to various reports, rent in Central Florida is up 20% since January while rent in South Florida is up nearly 25%.
The Tampa Bay region has seen a nearly 25% increase since July — among the largest increases in the nation, according to the letter. Only 2% of Tampa apartments, the letter adds, cost below $1,000 monthly.
“We are calling on Governor DeSantis to declare a state of emergency in order to crack down on landlords who are taking advantage of the pandemic to engage in price gouging and to ensure we are putting the freedom of our working families to have an affordable place to live first,” Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer wrote in the letter.
Speaking in Ocala, DeSantis pointed to other problems plaguing the Biden administration, including supply chain snarls and heightened fuel prices.
He also lamented the CDC’s eviction moratorium, an order that prohibited landlords from booting COVID-19-impacted tenants amid the pandemic. The moratorium ended July 31.
“We’re happy to forward that letter onto Biden, because make no mistake about it, that is what is driving increased costs across the board,” DeSantis added.
In the letter, Democrats note a state of emergency would allow Attorney General Ashley Moody to enact price gouging protections. Proponents, including Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, want to ban rent increases of 10% in the last twelve months. The accuse the Republican Governor of waging a “culture war” while rent prices increase.
“The simple fact is that more and more Floridians can’t afford Florida and it’s past time we recognize that access to affordable housing is an emergency that must be addressed,” Smith wrote.